The Ravens have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller to fortify their depth at the position for the 2022 season.
The Mount Saint Joseph product was a first-round pick out of Virginia Tech in 2014 and spent his first seven seasons with Chicago, earning trips to the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2019. With starters Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey returning from season-ending injuries and Baltimore bidding farewell to the likes of Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith, and Chris Westry this offseason, the 30-year-old Fuller provides valuable experience playing outside as well as more recently in the slot. Since sitting out the 2016 season with a knee injury, Fuller hasn’t missed a game because of injury, which has to be a welcome sight for the Ravens after their injury-ravaged 2021.
Having been released by the Bears last offseason and then signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal with Denver, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound defensive back struggled mightily with his new team and was even benched last October, at one point playing just four defensive snaps over a three-game stretch. Fuller played better transitioning to a slot role over the second half of the season, but Pro Football Focus graded him 111th out of 116 qualified cornerbacks and credited him with a 126.6 passer rating allowed when targeted in coverage last season. In 16 games (10 starts) last year, Fuller collected 51 tackles, four pass breakups, and no interceptions, which were all career lows when excluding his lost 2016 season.
Given his track record of quality play in Chicago, the Ravens are betting on Fuller returning to better form with a change of scenery and the opportunity to come home. He registered 19 interceptions and 82 pass breakups over his six healthy seasons with the Bears from 2014-20.
Fuller’s experience and versatility should provide even more options in the secondary for new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, especially with Humphrey’s ability to play inside or outside at a Pro Bowl level and the arrival of first-round rookie safety Kyle Hamilton. The Ravens have also acknowledged the possibility of using second-year safety Brandon Stephens at cornerback more frequently, but Fuller’s addition should ease some of the pressure to do so if Stephens is better suited to stick to more of a safety role. The arrival of Fuller should also allow Baltimore to bring fourth-round rookie cornerbacks Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams along more slowly now.